site
stats

True Confessions of a Casting Director

13564606_m

By Marci Liroff

What did you do for your career this week? Seriously, what have you done? I ask this question at the beginning of every class in my three-night Audition Bootcamp series of classes. What, exactly, have you done this past week to further your career?

The class responses vary from “I got new headshots taken” to “I checked breakdowns and submitted myself on three projects” to “I took a workshop” or “I had an audition.” It also counts if you do this: “I went down to the bus station to observe people.” This exercise each week keeps students accountable within the class, with their peers, so that they will hopefully be motivated to do several things each week to further their careers. Also, in so doing, we share useful information like online tools, websites, and other resources.

The peer pressure alone makes sure that they have something to report each week! During these weekly discussions, I realized that I hadn’t been practicing what I preach. Remember that as an independent casting director, I have to look for work, too. I’m out there like you are—auditioning for the role of the casting director. It struck me that I’ve become more than a little burnt out looking for my next job. As an actor, you must feel this way, too, at times.

This weekend I went out of town on a much-needed getaway with friends. I had just put my 10-and-a-half-year-old dog down and was quite blue. Because my brain was over-exhausted and not very clear, I forgot to bring my computer and iPad. When I arrived, I went into a kind of mini meltdown. For those who know me, they know that I’m pretty addicted to technology and the Internet. I was now going to get a 48-hour, cold-turkey experience.

Funny how life conspires to make you face yourself head-on.

I remembered that balance is everything. You’ve got to have balance in your life, or you’ll become a shell of your former self, and your work will suffer. Keep your life full and stay interested in your craft. If you stop being interested in your craft, know that it’s OK to stop acting until you get your juices flowing again. You need to be living your life. You’ve got to find balance and actually have a life in order to draw experience and emotion for your work.

Finally, I realized that it’s more than OK to unplug when you need to and not feel guilty. We’re all in this together. Let’s come at our art from a healthy and joyful place.

What do you do to find balance in your life? Please share in the comments below!

Make sure to check out my new online course “How To Audition For Film and Television: Audition Bootcamp”. You can view it on your laptop or your mobile device and your subscription gives you lifetime viewing privileges for this course. I’ll be adding lectures throughout the year.

Glad you’re here!

Marci

Want to share this post? Here are ready-made tweets!

Click to tweet: “True Confessions of a Casting Director” @marciliroff says it’s ok 2 unplug and find balance http://www.marciliroff.com/new/true-confessions-of-a-casting-director/

Click to tweet: Casting Director @marciliroff lays it on the line with “True Confessions of a Casting Director” http://www.marciliroff.com/new/true-confessions-of-a-casting-director/

THE UNIVERSE IS LISTENING

Universe 2
By Marci Liroff

One of my Skype coaching clients in the North Carolina market raised a very good question the other day: “Is taking all work offered necessarily a good thing?”

She wrote, “I’m wondering your opinion on this. About two years ago, I decided that I wanted to work on quality projects and not just collect credits. Many regional actors have the mentality that more is better and thrive on the attention they get from posting about their projects on social media. I know some just want to work. But I feel we won’t raise the bar if we take these poor-quality, poorly written unprofessional jobs. I get outstanding film and TV auditions weekly. You helped me with two of them.

“Am I making a mistake by saying no to the opportunities that I feel I’ve moved on from? I am a professional actor and I feel these projects would detract from the quality work I have done and I’m capable of. Some of my friends, who are very talented, seem to think ‘work is work’ and ‘work begets work.’ I understand that, but is it at the cost of not getting the really professional projects?”

This is such a timely discussion. Yes, I do believe work begets work on several levels. It gets you out there and seen within the community in which you want to continue working. There are networking opportunities. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run into a producer or director with whom I haven’t worked in a while when I’m working on a studio lot, and it results in a job offer. Sometimes you literally have to be standing in front of them to remind them that you exist! I also strongly believe in the momentum and energy created in the universe when you are actually doing the work, not just talking about the work.

The universe listens and often rewards you.

That said, I think you have to go with your gut on this one in terms of whether you think a project is of poor quality all around. Being seen in that light can actually be harmful and doesn’t necessarily bring you anything good. When I see a film, short, Web series, or what is obviously a self-produced project, and it’s poorly conceived and unprofessionally completed, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth for everyone concerned with the project.

Don’t forget that this kind of work also has the potential to harm your psyche and your spirit creatively.

If you’re going into auditions and projects with a chip on your shoulder about the quality of the project, it affects your performance.

You have to look at the whole picture and glean whether you’ll be learning something, either from associating with like-minded and uber-talented people or from playing a character you normally wouldn’t have the chance to.

There really isn’t one solid answer or rule of thumb here. There are so many things to consider in your choice. Yes, it’s your choice, and don’t forget that.

Make sure to check out my new online course “How To Audition For Film and Television: Audition Bootcamp”. You can view it on your laptop or your mobile device and your subscription gives you lifetime viewing privileges for this course. I’ll be adding lectures throughout the year. 

Glad you’re here! 

Want to share this post? Here are ready-made tweets!

CLICK TO TWEET:  Is it ever OK to turn down work? ‘The Universe Is Listening’ http://www.marciliroff.com/new/the-universe-is-listening/ via @marciliroff
CLICK TO TWEET: Should #actors take EVERY offer that comes along? http://www.marciliroff.com/new/the-universe-is-listening/ via @marciliroff

 

How To Prepare BEFORE The Job

Lecter

By Marci Liroff

A couple of months ago, I was coaching a client for a project. I always like to get all the details of the project (who’s involved, which network, studio, etc.) whenever I work with someone so that I can guide them in terms of tone. She had already booked the job and was about to shoot the next day. I asked her to fill me in on these details, but she didn’t really know anything about the project. It was for a producer friend, but she had no idea whether it was for television, Web, or what—she thought it was possibly a Web series with potentially three networks involved. She had no idea if it was union or nonunion. It was all very confusing.

Most important, there was no contract or deal set in place. She knew the work would be unpaid but had no guarantee of any kind. If you’re going to do a friend a favor, at the very least make sure you get screen credit and a copy of your footage. More troubling was that she had an agent and a manager who didn’t question this. It wasn’t as if she was going out for the weekend to shoot a project with her friends—this was a Hollywood producer who has a body of work, and nobody asked any questions. I advised her to have her reps talk to the producer beforehand and get a contract.

For our work session she wasn’t off-book yet, but through repetition she began to have more of a grasp of the material. She confessed that deep down she wasn’t comfortable with the lines and felt they weren’t very well-written—which they weren’t!

I suggested that she’s (hopefully!) going to have a long career working with great material that will just flow out of her mouth, along with times when she’ll have less-than-great material.

If you’re going to be an actor you have to leave your judgment at the door—your judgment of the material and the character.

You have to find a way in, a “hook,” if you will, to your character so that you can empathize with him or her. Look at how fascinating Sir Anthony Hopkins was as Hannibal Lecter. It’s not just because the material was so good; it’s because he had compassion for the character.

I asked my client what her objective was in the scene. It was to warn the Queen that her sister was being treated badly, and that this could possibly result in an uprising. I told her to think of her counsel as being “of service” to the Queen. Her role is noble because it serves a huge purpose. Without her, the whole kingdom could fall due to the missing piece of information that she is giving. She was needed and vital to this story.

Suddenly she had purpose. She had a role in this puzzle.

Be sure to ask questions and get all the info you can before you start your project. Learn your lines to the point where you can be comfortable throwing them away and truly connect with the scene’s objective and understand why you are there.

Make sure to check out my new online course “How To Audition For Film and Television: Audition Bootcamp”. You can view it on your laptop or your mobile device and your subscription gives you lifetime viewing privileges for this course. I’ll be adding lectures throughout the year.

Glad you’re here.

« 1 ... 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 ... 25 »